Indian Ocean Conservation and Culture
8th December 2020
Sri Lanka is a dream of a destination. Packed with adventure, wildlife and culture, as well as coastal and city attractions, it offers a diverse and vibrant experience. For a real experience of Sri Lankan culture, the best option is to immerse yourself in rural life. Why not slow right down and experience life in a Sri Lankan village? If you are planning to spend time in the enticing Hill Country around Kandy, you will be within easy reach of Kobbekaduwa. This traditional village on the fringes of Sri Lanka’s second city is an ideal place to unwind.
Kandy itself is Sri Lanka’s heavyweight cultural destination, partly because it clung on to its independence for longer than the rest of the island, preserving the Sinhalese cultural heritage in a purer form. There are colonial sights here but also some of Sri Lanka’s most important monuments including the Temple of the Tooth: the country’s most revered Buddhist shrine.
For a more rural immersion in the local culture, the Kobbekaduwa Eco Cottage is a relaxing sanctuary a short hop (about 15 kilometres) west of Kandy. Here you will receive a warm welcome from Kolitha and Ruki Fernando: the creative and knowledgeable husband and wife team who run the cottage. Kolitha is an accomplished artist, painting detailed scenes of his beautiful country, while Ruki is a writer whose culture and travel themed articles are inspired by her rural surroundings.
Along with their two friendly pups, Rusty and Ringo, they look forward to opening their home to guests who can use the Eco Cottage as a base for forays out into the lush Hill Country, rich with flora and fauna, or for cultural visits to local places of interest. See Buddhism in action at the 600 year old village temple, or step inside the Kobbekaduwa Walawwa, an ancestral mansion where you will find out about the history of the area, experience traditional Kandyan architecture, and learn how to cook sweet treats before enjoying them with a reviving pot of tea.
The cottage itself has a broad veranda ideally placed for quiet contemplation of the natural beauty all around, or for chatting to your hosts to gain further insight into life in Sri Lanka. Enjoy the opportunity to cook a delicious meal on the traditional wood fired open stove, getting involved in the rituals of preparation such as blending the spices on the flat grinding rock or pounding them in the pestle and mortar. It's an unforgettable experience with the aromas of tantalising spices mixing with the woodsmoke. The resulting meal will be a special one and hopefully one you will be able to recreate for family and friends upon your return home.
If the cookery has got those creative juices flowing, why not spend the evening at the easel, guided and advised by the artist in residence? Or perhaps a stroll around the village will tempt you, taking in beauty spots like Monahara Peela waterfall.
At the end of a relaxing but fulfilling day’s exploration of this tranquil village, you will have discovered the art of traditional local cuisine, learnt much about the surroundings and local history, and got to know your hosts. A gentle and rewarding way to get closer to the essence of this fascinating island nation.
Keen to find out more about Sri Lankan rural life? Take a look at our Sri Lanka destination page, or get in touch with one of our local experts to begin planning your perfect Sri Lankan adventure. If you would like to speak to someone in the TravelLocal office please call +44 (0)117 325 7898.